Staying Home … Again

After several years of being a stay-at-home mom, I didn’t think working two days a week would be a big deal. A year following the sale of our business, the buyers defaulted and ownership reverted to us. My husband had started a new company during this time and didn’t have time for both. Because of the current market, we were not in a position to sell the business again. We decided that, with the help of good management, I could oversee things two days a week.

I missed being home at first, but I hadn’t counted on how much I would enjoy my new position. The two days a week soon grew to three and sometimes four. Being at the office became more rewarding than changing diapers and looking for missing shoes. I shopped for nice clothes and found time to pursue my own interests during the hours I was away from home.

Over time I found myself annoyed that after spending all day working I still had to cook dinner, so I often picked something up on my way home. When I walked in the door, my children clamored for my attention when all I wanted to do was unwind. In response to the perceived ingratitude of my family, I became even more involved in the business, which wasn’t doing very well despite my attention.

One day while driving home I found myself searching for any possible reason to delay my arrival. Was there one more errand I could run? Had I left anything undone at the office? I realized with surprise that I didn’t want to be home. In fact, I wanted to be anywhere but home. Matthew 6:21 reads, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I no longer treasured being home with my children—my heart was not in it.

I pulled into the driveway and sat in my car for a few minutes. Even with the realization of how far from the path I had veered, my attitude didn’t instantly change. I was overwhelmed with guilt, sorrow, and embarrassment, yet I still didn’t want to go inside. Feeling a little panicked, I felt the prompting of the Spirit to do the only thing I could think of—I bowed my head over the steering wheel and prayed.

I asked for forgiveness for straying so far from my divine role, and then I made two pleas: first, that I could rekindle my desire to be at home; and second, that Heavenly Father would help me find a way to return home full time. I felt confident that in time I could rediscover my joy of being home with my children, but I had no idea how the second request could be achieved. The business was struggling, and my husband was having to pay many expenses with the profit from his other business. I didn’t know what the solution would be, but I had faith that things would get better somehow. I went to bed that night with a heavy heart, but I was determined to do my part to make things better.

I repeated my prayer every day. I stopped pursuing personal business during working hours so I could be home more often. I took pride in making home-cooked meals again. My attitude didn’t change overnight and it was often frustrating to have to work so hard at changing it, but in time I learned to enjoy being home again. However, aspects of the business weren’t coming together the way I had hoped. In fact, things were getting worse.

A few months after my first prayer, we reached a point where we were no longer able to make our loan payments on the business. Eventually we had no choice but to close the business and allow it to go into foreclosure. The bank would sell the building for much less than it would get as an operating company, and we would be responsible for the difference, which would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It was impossible not to take the failure personally. We had made so many sacrifices and worked so hard, but the business had failed despite our best efforts. We had never faced anything like this and found the entire experience overwhelming. And yet, there was one element that was impossible to ignore. Once we no longer had the business, I would be at home again.

I had prayed to return home full time, and though I assumed it would be through the success of the business, not the failure, I received exactly what I had asked for. Matthew 6:20 reads, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Through this experience I have come to realize just how important it was to the Lord that I be home with my children, regardless of the consequences. The power of prayer was also driven home as I realized just how well my Father in Heaven had listened to my pleas for help. He had first helped me to change my heart, and then He helped change my circumstances.

Being home again isn’t all enjoyment. I still spend a lot of time looking for missing shoes, and at times I long for the respect and satisfaction I found at the office. However, my heart is now back where it belongs, and I once again treasure my role as a mother. I lost sight of my true riches for a time, but through the help of my Father in Heaven I was able to come home again and stay there.

Illustration by Roger Motzkus